FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Emily Arasim, Communications Coordinator,
International Women's Day Delegation to Reject New Oil Contracts - Stand with Indigenous Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon Announced by WECAN
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., February 17, 2016 – In late January 2016, the government of Ecuador signed a contract with Chinese oil corporation Andes Petroleum, handing over rights for oil exploration and extraction in two controversial blocks which overlap the traditional territory of the Sápara and Kichwa peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Concession plans open up almost a million acres in the center of Ecuador’s road-less southeastern Amazon, and threaten large swaths of deforestation and irreversible devastation of the forest’s magnificent ecological, social and cultural diversity.
The government of Ecuador has signed this most recent oil contract just a month after pledging at the UN COP21 climate negotiations in Paris to take action along with 195 countries to keep global warming below 1.5 degree Celsius. Scientists have stated that we must keep 80% of global fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe. Oilextraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon will thus directly contribute to the negation of the Paris Agreement and the demands of science.
The Kichwa of Sarayaku and Sápara people have successfully protected their communities and lands from extraction for decades, and now, with women at the forefront, they are again rising to denounce this new oil contract and protect the health and wellbeing of the planet for generations to come.
On March 8th, International Women’s Day, a delegation of global climate women leaders from the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network will travel to Puyo, Ecuador to stand in solidarity and support Sápara and Kichwa women leaders in holding a march, forum and press conference to denounce the latest contracts and bring international attention to the grave and intertwined social and ecological threats posed by expanding oil extraction in the Amazon, with particular focus on violations against Indigenous women, and their powerful resistance and solutions building.
On March 9th, a second press conference and public event will be held in Quito, Ecuador in partnership with local environmental and Indigenous rights organizations.
“WECAN International reaffirms our unyielding commitment of support and collaboration with the Sápara and Kichwa peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. In particular, we stand with and wish to draw attention to the stories, struggles and solutions of the Sápara and Kichwa women, who continue to put their bodies on the line to defend the rights of their communities and the health and wellbeing of the planet for generations to come,” explained Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, “We are here in solidarity and in defense of the forests, peoples and lifeways that have lived in harmony with the Amazon for millennia. We demand that this latest oilconcession be revoked, and that the Ecuadorian government heed the calls of the Sápara and Kichwa people to move immediately towards an end to extraction in the Amazon.”
In addition to on the ground actions in Ecuador, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network has mobilized a global network of climate justice advocates to sign and share a critical petition and statements directly from the Indigenous women of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Key United Nations representatives have been alerted to the unfolding situation, and have been asked to write letters of support.
President of the Association of Sapara Women, Gloria Ushigua, Director of International Relations for the Kichwa Pueblo of Sarayaku, Patricia Gualinga, and WECAN International Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, are available as media spokeswomen to discuss the urgent situation in Ecuador and March 8th International Women’s Day actions and events.
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.